Keeping your home warm during frigid winter days can be costly, but it is a wise investment in health. Even mildly cool homes with temperatures between 60 and 65 degrees can trigger hypothermia. This occurs when a person’s normal body temperature drops from 98.6 to 95 degrees.
Older people may be at greater risk for this condition if their body’s response to cold is diminished by certain illnesses like arthritis and medications like some over-the-counter cold remedies, according to the National Institute of Aging. Reducing health risks is among the many missions of the Medical Society of the State of New York.
To prevent hypothermia, set your thermostat at home to at least 68 to 70 degrees, the National Institute on Aging advises. Because heating costs are high, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently allocated $100 million in emergency funds to help low-income families pay their heating bills. Contact the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program at 1-866-674-6327 or www.energynear.org, or Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.
This information is provided by the Medical Society of the State of New York. For more health-related information and referrals to physicians in your community, contact your local county medical society.